Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Recipe Tuesday with Andrea Downing!

Andrea Downing is here with a contribution to Recipe Tuesdays. Writers, if you've got a recipe you want to share like Andrea did here, send me a note at jana.richards@hotmail.com I'd love to have you!

With English aristocrats and English gentry running cattle companies and settling colonies in the 1880s American West, one cannot envisage a group of people who ate any less graciously than they did back home.  Out on the Faringdon Ranch of my book, Loveland, there was a cook who would no doubt have brought her favourite recipes from the home country, and served them up to Oliver Calthorpe—brother of a Duke—and his niece, Lady Alexandra, my heroine.  And one dessert that most certainly would have graced their table would be a Trifle.  Cook might well have had a copy of ‘Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management,’ although, most likely, she would have adapted any recipes therein for the American groceries she was able to buy.  Soooo…here is the Faringdon Ranch cook’s recipe for an English Trifle.  I hope you enjoy it!

1 pint heavy cream
3 oz./ ½ cup superfine sugar
2 egg whites
small glass sweet sherry/madeira/dessert wine
1 pint Bird’s Custard from a packet OR homemade with 1 pt. heavy cream, 4 large egg yolks, 1 Tbs. super fine sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 dessertspn cornstarch
6 small spongecakes or lady’s fingers or Nilla cookies
12 macaroons, pref. almond not coconut 
24 Ratafia biscuits OR 12 amaretti
2 oz. slivered almonds, toasted
grated rind of one lemon (optional)
raspberry jam of good quality
½ pint sweet wine or sherry
6 Tbs brandy or cognac
slivered almonds and candied peels or berries for decorating top

You should have a very pretty, medium-sized glass bowl for this dessert.  
For the whipped cream topping:  stiffly beat cream, sugar, egg whites  and sweet wine to stand in peaks.  A solid consistency is required.
If making custard, whisk yolks, vanilla, cornstarch and sugar and slowly add heated cream.  Return to saucepan and continue whisking until thick and slightly simmering.  Let cool.
Now assemble by putting lady’s fingers, macaroons and amaretti/ratafia in bottom of bowl and pouring the sweet wine mixed with the brandy over, making sure all are thoroughly soaked.  Spread a layer of jam on that, sprinkled with the lemon rind if using, and the slivered almonds.  Top this with the cooled custard and on top of that goes the whipped cream.  You can decorate with more slivered almonds, candied peels or berries to match the jam.
Many cooks add berries (fresh or frozen & defrosted) on top of the wine-soaked cakes, and that’s delicious, too.  Whatever your preference, this is a lovely dessert in any century.  Then again, they weren’t watching their cholesterol and counting calories in the 1800s…

Blurb for "Loveland":

When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...
Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?
The light was failing and the birds were settling with their evening calls. Somewhere in the pasture a horse nickered. She sensed Jesse was there, watching, but she never turned as he stood at the fence. She heard him climb over and ease up behind her. He took the coiled rope from her in his left hand and slid his right hand over hers on the swing end, almost forcing her backward into his arms.
She thought of paintings and statues she had seen, imagining his naked arms now, how the muscles would form them into long oblique curves, how he probably had soft downy fair hair on his forearms, how his muscle would slightly bulge as he bent his arm. His voice was soft in her ear, and she could feel his breath on her neck like a whispered secret.
“Gentle-like, right to left, right to left to widen the noose, keep your eye on the post—are you watchin’ where we’re goin’?”
He made the throw and pulled in the rope to tighten the noose. Alex stood there, his hand still entwined with hers and, for a moment, she wished they could stand like that forever. Then she took her hand away and faced him. For a second he rested his chin on the top of her head, then straightened again and went to get the noose off the post while coiling in the rope. She looked up at him in the fading light and saw nothing but kindness in his face, simplicity and gentleness that was most inviting. A smile spread across her face as he handed her the coiled rope and sauntered away, turning once to look back at her before he opened the gate. Emptiness filled her like a poisoned vapor seeking every corner of her being, and she stood with the rope in her hand listening to the ring of his spurs as his footsteps retreated.  

Author Bio:   

Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born, instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK. She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit. Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria, as well as extensive travel throughout Europe, Africa and Latin America, filled those years.  She returned to NYC in 2008.  She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming. Family vacations are frequently out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to over 25 ranches throughout the west. Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards and her three further novels and novellas have garnered several awards.

Links to social media: 
WEBSITE AND BLOG:  http://andreadowning.com
Twitter:  @andidowning  https://twitter.com/AndiDowning

Buy Links for LOVELAND:  

Review snippets:

"Andrea Downing has crafted a masterpiece with Loveland. Her fast-paced romantic western keep readers wondering how the story can ever be resolved...Downing is a strong writer who has written a worthy premiere novel. She handles romantic scenes with flair while showing the nitty-gritty of ranch life in the 1880s. Loveland is packed with action and emotion, leaving the reader wanting more. Loveland is one of those books I hated to have end. A hands-down five-star novel."  Mary E. Trimble,  Captivating Stories from the American West to West Africa

"…Great storytelling! Even though the happy ending is a given, the journey was much more satisfying because of the snappy dialogue, the pivotal plotting, and the realistic progression of Alex and Jesse's emotional connection. I'm happy to give this book Five Stars!"
Lynda Coker, Between the Pages

"Andrea Downing does a very good job of depicting the hard life on a ranch in the late 1800´s as well as the struggles of a high-society woman to gain independence. I like the authors descriptive style and the pace throughout the book is very high, with one dramatic event after the other unfolding...The author does a good job in adding a lot of interesting historical detail and a fun group of supporting characters to give this classic romantic story more depth. I would recommend Loveland for lovers of romance and historical fiction enthusiasts."
--Daniella, The TBR Pile

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